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Potential builders of North Bay arena say $52M budget is too small, schedule too short


The firms interested in building a new arena in North Bay say they can’t deliver a twin-pad facility for $52 million, nor build it as quickly as the city wants.

The city is hoping to build two ice pads that can seat 250 fans each, 12 change rooms that can fit up to 25 people, a 223-space parking lot with 10 accessible parking spaces and city bus drop-off area.

But in the fall, when bids came back at between $70 million and $82 million, council voted to issue a request for expression of interest for the new recreation centre by the Steve Omischl Sports Complex with a $52 million limit.

But Colliers, the firm hired to lead the bidding process, said in a report that potential bidders don’t believe they can deliver the facility for that price.

“All participants indicated that the current budget of $52 million was likely insufficient given the current design and net-zero energy requirements,” Colliers said in its report.

“While some cost-saving efficiencies suggestions were provided … the overall commentary was that even with a redesign, the net zero requirements will drive the cost higher and likely above the budget. The full impact to cost and schedule was unknown.”

By making the arena net-zero, the city can access $26 million in federal funding. Some potential bidders estimated that net-zero requirements could add as much as 20 per cent to the final cost.


For comparison, Peterborough is building a new twin-pad arena with a budget of $65 million for a 100,000-square-foot facility. But that arena doesn’t have the net-zero requirements that exist in North Bay.

“The commentary even went as far as to suggest that there has not been an arena of this size and with these energy requirements procured in the post-COVID environment,” the report said.

“Given the wide range of data provided, Colliers is not able to validate any costing.”

All bidders also said that completing the new arena sometime in 2025 would be difficult, with construction likely to take 16-20 months after shovels go in the ground.

North Bay would like the facility to open in 2025 to coincide with the city’s 100th birthday. The report goes to a special city council meeting Wednesday at 5 p.m.

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